Strange Horizons, 9 January 2006

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"The Girl with the Heart of Stone" by Leah Bobet

I really liked this week’s Strange Horizons offering, "The Girl with the Heart of Stone" by Leah Bobet.  Right after she is born, a Beast steals Kara-nai’s heart and replaces it with a stone.  She is raised by the village, but never really becomes a part of it because her heart is gone.  She goes on a quest to win her heart back from the Beast and succeeds, but having a real heart is not all that easy for her.

Ultimately, this story is about not living at extremes.  When Kara-nai has a stone heart, she feels nothing and cares for no one.  When she has a flesh heart she cares too much, and her life is marked by constant pain.  It is not until she is able to use both that she finds true happiness.

This story would be at home in any collection of folktales.  I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes mythic fiction.  Heck, I recommend it to everyone else, too.